How can you bring new leads into your wedding photography business for little to no cost? In today’s final episode in the Getting Noticed Series, I’m sharing the story of how I built my entire business with no-cost marketing. I’m also detailing my three key strategies for laying the foundation of your marketing pyramid.
The Focused Photographers Podcast was created based on the idea that the most incredible tool for learning is a deep dive into any given topic from multiple perspectives. Join us every other week as we explore important topics, with host Daniel Moyer and a variety of guests offering different perspectives! Make sure you’ve hit that follow or subscribe button on your favorite podcast player to get notified each week as we air new episodes!
Subscribe on Your Favorite Podcast Player
REVIEW THE SHOW NOTES:
The story of building my own photography business (2:50)
The foundation of the marketing pyramid (11:00)
Building and maintaining relationships with venues (14:47)
Creating a referral group (21:24)
Nurturing your clients immediately (27:52)
MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:
CONNECT WITH DANIEL MOYER
Wedding Instagram: @DANIELMOYERPHOTO
Business Instagram: @GETFOCUSEDPHOTOGRAPHERS
REVIEW IN APPLE PODCASTS
This podcast is about giving to others in knowledge, joy, insight, and (*hopefully*) humor. You can help too! The more reviews and ratings in Apple Podcasts, the higher the Focused Photographers Podcast will rank and ultimately the more people will listen to it. So if you’re getting value from this podcast, will you consider leaving a rating on Apple Podcasts? Just click below!
Review the Transcript:
Hello, friends, thank you so much for being here with me. I’m Dan Moyer, the focus photographers podcast host. This is episode 51. And I’m so thankful that I get to be alongside you on this journey. This episode is the final episode in a series called getting noticed this episode specifically, it’s about no cost marketing for your wedding photography business. And that is how I built my entire business. That’s what I’ve really grown on over the last 13 plus years. And it just keeps getting better and better, because of all the stuff I’m going to talk about today. So before we hop in, though, this episode scratches the surface on all of the stuff that I have learned over the past 13 plus years in the wedding world, I know many of you, if you’re listening to this podcast, are trying to make adjustments and expand and take your business to new levels and overhaul it and make it fit the way you want it to be and how you hope it to fit your lifestyle and all that right. This episode has a lot of real gems in it. But it’s it might not be enough. And so if that’s the case, after you’re done listening to any of the other podcasts you listen to, I’m here to come alongside you and help you discover how to build a business that fits your life. And I do that through one to one coaching. The coaching models I currently have are a Power Hour, which is actually 90 minutes and a six month what I call momentum mentoring, I’m just looking for alliteration, I’m trying to kind of come up with a better name. That’s something that has to do with focused but I thought focused formula just sounded a little bit weird. Anyway, many photographers come to me for the 90 minute power hour to dive into their finances, help them set up Profit First give them feedback on their work life balance or help them refine client experience. And we do this in this sort of one single session to just dive in and get some good feedback. They want to have some ideas bounced off me or something like that. The six month momentum mentoring is for photographers who don’t just need more information, they need a whole transformation. Think of think of building a business like a cross country road trip, right, you could totally ride a moped across the country. And that would be totally great and fine, and you could totally get there. But you would have to stop and refuel a million times you’re gonna have to ask for directions and all that one to one coaching is like hopping in a VW bus with your best friend who’s made the trip in a million different ways. And they can give you directions on whatever you want to see and however you want to go. But also the vibes are high, the music is blaring, the destination is the same, but you get to chart your own path and have a friend in the construction zones that make you won’t want to rip your steering wheel off during those construction zones. If this sounds good, if you’re if this is something that you’re trying to seek out, you can check out more info at Focus photographers.com and then click on mentoring at the top. Okay, now that we got through that, let’s get into the show.
So this story starts back in 2009. I had been working for this studio all through high school. And or not through high school. I had graduated high school and got out of high school, went to the photographer, my hometown, and basically said to him, Hey, I’m going off to university, I’m going to Kutztown and I’m trying to buy my first digital camera, what do you think I should get? And that one question led to me basically, interning there learned and then changed to me basically working full time there all throughout college. So I graduated college with a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts consulting and photography, and I go to work for the studio right away. And we did everything under the sun. I did these like massive tournaments on weekends from like gymnastics, and cheerleading and lacrosse and soccer like action shots, to like team and individual pictures, which is like if you ever played baseball, or T ball, when you’re a kid or played soccer, you have to you know, get a picture with your team and you hit the ball on your knee. I did that stuff too. And I also did senior portraits and weddings and all kinds of stuff. It was wild. I did everything in those years. And we went from six employees over the time that I worked there down to just like me and my boss. And one day, you know, maybe I guess it was six or seven months after I had graduated, my boss came to me and was like, listen, there’s just not enough work for the two of us. But more than enough work for me. So I gotta let you go. And at that time, a lot of our conversations were around the idea that there was not going to be many, if any single photographer outfits going forward, it was all going to be Photo Video and graphic design all under one roof. At least that’s what my boss was telling me at the time.
So I’m thinking, okay, my days in photography are over, like, maybe I’ll just do something on the side here and there or whatever. And this random thing happens where I am back at school on there for a couple of months. And all of a sudden, my three people sort of from my past and one acquaintance of this woman who I was in a graduate class with, come to me over the course of two days and say, Hey, we know that you’re not photographing for that studio anymore. Will you photograph our weddings? And it was while there was like I said it was a high school friend. It was a woman whose son I went to I went to church with growing up, and this was her Her second marriage, her first husband passed away. And so it was like a member of the family, a girl who I went to high school with. And then this woman in my, in my one of my graduate classes. And so I’m thinking before that there was no desire for me to start a photography studio. But all of a sudden, these like, three people come to me and they say, Hey, will you photograph our weddings, and I did no marketing for that I didn’t have a business. And and I was like, Okay, well, maybe there’s something here, it was at that moment where I just said, Okay, maybe I’ll just start something, I’ll just put up a little website. And I’ll just just do this on the side or something like that. And in the beginning, like I said, I’m going to school to be an art teacher, this is what I’m thinking I’m gonna do, I’m on the path to, to, you know, teaching little kids how to, you know, think about big ideas, and use paint brushes and explore their creativity and emotions and all that stuff through art. And I decided to start this thing on the side. And in the beginning, it was just very simple, because you have to realize, like, this was January 1 2010, is when I started open, Daniel more photography. And that business is still thriving, weddings are still my bread and butter. That’s still what I do for a living. But it was a very different time. When you started a business back then, it was business cards and websites that was that, like, maybe Facebook, Facebook business pages were like a little bit of a thing. But it was like if you needed to know how to start a business or if you had questions, you went to the digital wedding Forum, which you paid a monthly subscription to be part of the DW F.
And that’s where I got so much information from. But before I even really got to that it was it was I went to my cousin’s wife and said, Hey, Michelle, can you start a and design a website for me, I got my first portfolio pictures from attending friends, weddings, and bringing a camera and and just having some photographs from that. And then that the woman who I went to my I went to church with their sons, her wedding was like, like, pretty quickly after she had asked me to photograph her wedding. So I had some pictures from that. I had some pictures from friends, weddings, and like, and maybe some pictures of my cousin and his wife, the woman who was doing my, my website, and that was like the engagement session collection. That was it. So I started with this, like bare bones. And these people still wanted me to photograph their weddings. But I remember those were the people who first sort of hired me, right. But I remember my first paying client, that was not somebody that I knew that was not an acquaintance, or referral, or somebody I knew in person. And this is one of the things that I feel so strongly about today, that really sets apart or really should create the foundation of of your marketing pyramid, just don’t talk about it a little bit, this idea of a marketing pyramid, my wife and I, we were just dating at the time, this was like very, very, I think, I want to say it was late 2009, maybe the fall. And we’re at one of our favorite pizza places. And we’re talking and chopping, chopping it up. And she, my wife always carried business cards with her, she carried my business cards after I made them. They’re horrible looking, I still have one of them for nostalgia, but she used to carry them all the time. And we sort of had this awareness always of when women were wearing engagement rings without a wedding ring. And we’re standing behind this couple in line at a pizza shop to pay and we suppose p shop all the time. And she like sort of like nudges me and says something and I I you know, talk to the couple and I’m chatting them up and just asking them, you know, if they’re engaged and when they’re getting married, and all this stuff, and turns out that they’re he’s in the he’s in the Marines, he’s like about to go back to some kind of basic training soon, or he’s about to get shipped out. And they’re like getting married that Sunday. And this was like, like four or five days before, like, that was it. And I just gave him the card and said, Hey, if you want any pictures or anything, if you wanna do like a little bridal session or portrait session beforehand, give me a call or whatever. I think it was two days later that they said, We’re getting married on Sunday. Will you take pictures of us this Saturday at this park and whatever. And it was my first paying client, they I think they paid me 300 bucks. I gave them a million pictures for like two or three hours of portrait session time. And she wore wedding gown. He wore his his dress blues, the Marine uniform. And I took so many pictures and I created an album from that. And like that is what I use to sell my business. And I added a couple pictures from that onto my website.
That was the raw materials that I use to start my business. It was really my first expense was business cards. And I guess you could say that I also had this had a wedding album that I was using when I was starting to meet couples when the website was up and I’m starting to actually bring in inquiries. Here’s the thing though, the current marketing feel so much different than those days where it was so much about like personal connection. And and maybe it was friends of friends who are telling their their friends about you. And it was you know, being behind people in a pizza shop and I remember my buddy Joe. He was on this podcast talking about relationships with venues. He when he first started I used to take his business card and go to Barnes and Nobles and put it inside of the wedding planners that you like you could buy there before, you know, they made digital PDFs and stuff. But it was like guerilla marketing, and it was about, you know, making these connections with people. And now, it feels a little bit more like, you know, like you, you want to start a photography business, and the first place you go is Instagram, and you can definitely do so much with Instagram, right, like, I know, many photographers who do a really great job of expressing their personality and all that kind of stuff. But one of the complaints that I have, and that I hear often is that marketing now feels so passive, you have to make so much content, you have to put so much out there in the hopes that you get something back in the hopes that you sort of cut through the noise. And, and that can take a long time. And I think that is one of the biggest differences that I’ve seen, you know, in the past, where it was so much about relationship and referral building, rather than like needing to create content and having this like digital version of you. And I think if there are, if there’s a marketing pyramid, right, there is all these different sections of it. It’s, you know, there’s Instagram and all the social medias, there’s Facebook, and there’s SEO and Facebook ads are really important. And there’s things like model calls, and raffles and, and so many different things that you can do. But I think the foundation of that the foundation of this whole thing is referrals and relationships. And I’m going to sort of get into the power of them in a little bit. But I think that the reason why just very briefly, is because when you make connections with people, when you are across the table from somebody or meeting them at some kind of a, you know, a bridal show, or if it’s a bunch of photographers getting together for coffee, people form an opinion of you, ie immediately. And there’s this really great book called The 22 Immutable Laws of marketing. And there’s this, this, I think it’s like the second or third law is the law of the mind.
And it basically states, the authors are talking about how it’s better to be first in the mind rather than first in the marketplace. And they’re saying that you have to like blast your way into people’s minds, not sort of like gently worm your way into it. And as they say, you have to blast your way into people’s minds. Because people don’t like to change their minds, once they perceive you one way, that’s kind of it, they kind of file you away in their minds as a certain kind of person. And you cannot become a different person in their minds. If you think of this marketing pyramid. And you think of being able to create a relationship with a venue or relationship with another photographer, relationships with friends relationships with these clients, who come to know you as somebody with a lot of integrity, who is very others focused who, who has a lot of empathy and really goes above and beyond for them, then they will take you with them wherever they go. Venue managers, if they change from one location to another one venue to another, they’ll take you with them, I have a several couples who I’ve photographed over the last 13 years that are worth, you know, 6070 $80,000 in referrals to me because they’ve shared their, their my name with their friends, and then their friends tell their friends about me. And it all comes back to this one couple. It all just goes back to this idea of like, really, and I hate the word networking, but it’s about just like forming these relationships with the people who are around you. And being able to give off a good impression and be somebody who doesn’t see others as a means to an end, but sees them as somebody who you genuinely want to help and want to be of, of service to in the wedding world and other people’s businesses. So this is all stuff that I’ve learned over the years. But in the beginning, it was it was more just hey, I’m trying to spend money, let me just get in front of some people. And let me just see how I can help others. Right. And, you know, now I’ve learned to be very calculated with with my finances. And but as I’m thinking back about this episode of the things I did in early days, I realized that so much of what I did in early days is what I do now and then at all costs nothing at all or if anything, it costs very little. So I put together three very simple things, hopefully that I can I can go through quickly. So this doesn’t become this massive, huge episode for you. But I put them together and sort of a list of, of importance, they’re all important, they all go hand in hand. But these are really three things that I think you can do right now with very little or no money at all to really start forming these relationships and and get leads that come into your business. So I’m gonna go through them, there’s three of them, I’m gonna talk about them. Grab a pen, and and stick with me now because I think you’re gonna really enjoy this especially if you’re trying to shake things up. And if you’re stuck in the social media realm or Facebook ads or whatever, you just want to try something different. So the first one I’m not gonna spend too much time on because if you listen to this podcast a bunch you’ve definitely heard this one before I did a whole episode on this was episode 45. It was called three things to do when you need more increase. And it’s also about this sort of referral building idea. But this one in particular is about building and maintaining relationships with venues. You’ve heard me talking about this before, like I’ve said, so I’m going to keep it brief. If you want to dive into this particular idea about working with other venues and things like that, go to focused photographers.com/referral-building. And you can download a worksheet that’ll help you go through it. It’s also the companion worksheet to Episode 45. But I’m gonna go over it briefly here, because it’s still really important. I think this is like this like base level of like, if you’ve got nothing, if you have no leads coming in, maybe if you’re just starting out, going to venues and seeing how you can be of service to them, is going to be a massive change to your business, because a lot of barbers will go there and say, Hey, can I make you a wedding album, Hey, can I, how do I work with you, and they’ll email them. But I think if you do two things, one, start out and just list the venues that you you want to work at. And if you are fortunate enough to be working at a bunch of venues, if you’re starting to be established, you want to make the list of the ones that you are working at coming up, email them, and just set up a time to me this is all in that referral building worksheet actually have the actual emails in there that I used to, that I used to set up meetings with, with these different venues. But basically, it’s just says, you know, hey, you know, I’m working at your venue on such and such a date, or if you’re not working there, hey, you know, I was I’m in the area, I’m a new photographer, and I’d love to come to your venue and just see what you guys do best Can I set up a time to tour and when you’re there, it’s it’s seeing the person who’s doing the tour, who’s probably the venue manager, as as a person, as somebody who is not a means to an end, they’re a person who’s trying to do a good job, they might have kids, they might have a family, they, you know, are trying to they’ve got struggles outside of their, you know, the place that they work. This is somebody who if you can make them look good to their boss, or their superiors, or whoever owns the venue, that’s going to make you look good. And they’re going to end up referring to you remember that you are in a power position, because you can actually give them photos, right? They want that. But they’re in a power position because couples go to them first. And they can refer you this is a win win situation where you can come alongside these people who work at venues come alongside venues and ask them how you can help them. Maybe that’s if you’re working at the venue coming up. It’s as simple as ending the meeting with, hey, you know, I’m going to be here on this this date. Is there anything that is sort of a hole in your marketing plan, or that you need photos of that or that you know about this wedding is going to be unique that you’d like photos of that I can give you for your socials and things like that. Or maybe it’s when you show up. And this is something that I cannot take credit for my wife and my good friend who’s a wedding coordinator, Daniel Pasternak, they both told me, when I show up, I often bring a little tiny gift, right, I always bring these little succulent things that lasts forever, and you’d like need to water them once a month. And I say like, you know, I’m inside all day. And if you’re anything like me, you like a little bit of green in your space, these things lasts forever. And, and I also make a joke about you know how my wife and my friend Danielle told me to bring a gift for anybody who walks me through a venue and what’s great. And what I think is beautiful about this is that a lot of the venues that I visited in the past, that when I came back to photograph the wedding, the venue manager still had the succulent on their desk, and this was often 567 months later. So you know that this is something that whenever they see it, they literally think of me. And I’m trying to make a good impression on these individuals and say like, listen, I, you know, this is the industry where, you know, we’re all trying to work together, we’re all trying to like make this thing for these couples this amazing day, we’re all trying to work together. And I’m not trying to be somebody who needs a lot from you. I’m not trying to be somebody who you know, asked you to give me a lot of attention and do all these special things. For me, I just want to help you do the best you possibly can. And the final thing I’ll say and this before I move to the second one is that if you photograph at a wedding, you’re starting to look back at the weddings you photographed. And you want to start looking at the places you want to photograph. And you’ve got all these galleries that that venues could use photographs of you email them and you don’t include a link to the gallery.
That’s a huge mistake. What you want to do is start a conversation right. So like, let me just clarify here that, you know before I was talking about places that you are going to work and that you want to work venues that you want to work at now I’m talking about venues that you have worked at in the past. And so you go back through and you create this list of all these places that you’ve worked at in the past, and you have all these photographs of of this venue that you’ve worked at. And these photographs could be really helpful and I’ll tell you not a lot of photographers make it high on their list to send photographs to venues. So by step Just like going out of your way to email, the marketing director, the social media director, whoever it is at the venue and saying, Hey, I photograph there on these dates, can you use any photographs for your marketing, that will be a huge win, they will love that. But here’s the thing is that you, like I said, You do not include the link to the gallery, because you want them to respond to you, right? The next step is when they respond, you respond back and basically just say, Okay, great. Would you like me to send you the whole entire gallery? Or do you want me to go through and create a Favorites folder for you. So that way, I can save you some time.
And then you email that back, right. And like I said, I’ve got different parts of this. And actually exactly how I write out these emails and things in that referral building worksheet that if you go to focus photographers.com, slash referral dash building the URL to download it work through the worksheet, there’s plenty of space and handholding that I take you through. But it’s about, like I said, seeing people as a way that you can help them rather than Oh, I’m going to do this. And they’re going to give me this because it’s about just giving. And when you give with expectation, that’s not giving us manipulation. So give from your heart, and let people see that. And then you’re going to jump to the top of their sort of private list. And I promise that just building these venue relationships is going to be massively helpful for you. Okay, so moving on from that, this second space to focus on is so basic, and but it takes a little bit of focus and a little bit of finding people who are similar to you, and that is creating a referral group. Now, there are lots of photographers out there who have associates, and they’ve got studios and that, that kind of stuff. And then there’s a whole other set of photographers who are solo entrepreneurs, right, like me, I am a one man show pretty much. I have a couple of assistants that I go to, but they’re not an employee, it’s just me anymore. Photography is me. And I kind of like it that way. I like being nimble. You know, and, and it just, it feels right that I can make a change, and course correct and all that kind of stuff. And there are many photographers out there that are exactly like that, if you’re one of these people who who’s a solopreneur, if your business is just you, then one of the number one ways is to create a group of a referral group of a handful of photographers three to five, that are constantly sharing referrals amongst each other for dates that they are booked for, right? The days of posting in a big photography group, and then getting a million different responses back and then sifting through them and stuff. Forget about it. It is about creating a small niche group of photographers who are maybe similar style to you, not necessarily similar price, but similar style, similar look, similar approach to photography. If you can do that, that is going to be an absolute game changer. But how do you do this? Right?
I’m fortunate that in the very beginning, I sort of fell into it, there were these two photographers who were considerably further along in the photography process than I was, they were much more expensive than I was. And they would funnel me referrals. Because because I was much cheaper, and they would get referrals that that really were not a good fit for them. So when they would get one of those that they were booked for and that they were, you know that the couple or this photographer was out of their budget, they would send them to me, and actually learn this, if you’ve been around for a while you might have nodes, you might know of Zack and Jody Gray, they were around for a long, a long time ago. And I think they’ve gone through some life changes now and stuff. But they had this they did a I think a workshop up in at an aroma in New York. And I remember going there and they talked about this power of like the referral group. And I didn’t even understand really what it was because I wasn’t able to give anything back to these guys, because it was sort of like years, you know, late first year all the way through maybe late three and year four, that they were just sending me all these referrals and I got so many from them. And it wasn’t until May, you know, maybe, you know year three or so that I was on that digital wedding forum just trying to connect with different people. And I met this guy named Matt and we chatted and we ended up having lunch. This other guy named Russ and we were we ended up constantly just sending referrals to each other and building those businesses up because all of our businesses were just us I think to make this successful, it has to follow a couple of different rules. One is that the this is like a core group that you are text messaging or met on Messenger or something like Facebook Messenger or something like that where you’re in touch pretty regularly right?
And the group is no more than like maybe five people and everybody generally has to know each other you have to know each other’s work, maybe know each other’s pricing point. And and if you could have gone out to eat together or maybe going out for some coffee. This is somebody that you Trust, right, because if you are giving a personal referral to a couple who comes to you to somebody else, that also comes back to you, right? Like you’re putting your stamp of approval on this other person saying, hey, they’re really good, I trust them. That is sort of the foundational part of this. And when you respond to that email, so let’s say, let’s say an inquiry comes in, and you’re not available for the day, and you go to your referral group and say, Hey, this is the date, this is the place who’s available, and you get three people back. It’s not a list of 10 people, it’s three, it’s two, something like that. And the email that you write back to the couple, you want to set your friends up, you want to tee them up to make this so easy, right? It’s not Hey, sorry, I’m booked. Here’s three photographers have a great day, it’s, Hey, thank you so much for writing, I’m so thankful you contacted me. Unfortunately, I’m not available for on your wedding day. But please refer let me refer you to three friends of mine who are amazing photographers, if you like my photography, you will like theirs. I know, Colin, Matt and Joe really well, we’ve had dinner together, we’ve gone snowboarding together, I you know, I trust and respect all of them. And if I were getting married, again, I would trust them, any of them with my wedding, their websites or above, please reach out. And for some reason you do not. If they’re not a good fit, or something doesn’t work out, please respond back. And let me know. And I’ll point you in the direction of a few more trustworthy photographers, that is a much bigger difference than here’s the websites of three photographers, go check them out and see who’s a good fit, you are trying to tee them up. And when you do this, the success rate for your friends is gonna go up, and then you become an invaluable part of that of that group. And then your friend starts to see that and then they try to do the same thing. And you start, you know, really tearing each other up. And that is the recipe for success for this referral group to work.
Okay, so that I’m trying to think like, after this, this next one, this is the last one to go through, which I think is is a extremely important one. But without the referral group over the last 13 years and friends giving me weddings, and me being able to send so many weddings to other friends, I don’t know that I would be where I was on that, right? And so I say yes, I’m the solopreneur. And I, I love going about business alone. But you know, you really have to find people who are, you know, do having parallel businesses to you to be able to throw things, throw advice and referrals to each other, this referral group, if you’re not in one, then cultivate one, find some photographers and just start networking seems a good field, go go by the fields and find the warm and fuzzies with some other photographers, and just make it happen. And I think your business will be all the better for it. The third and final one is directly related to actually having clients. And this is that you should nurture your clients immediately. And if you’re multitasking, if you’re doing something else, come back to me and sit with me on this one. Because I think this is very closely tied to client experience and all that kind of stuff. But there’s some messaging in here I think is a little bit different. And that is to put time and effort into your clients. And here’s why in this zoom, digital day and age, it’s really easy to have a couple, sign the agreement, and then you fall off the face of the earth for the next year, year and a half. And the couple has to wait to see how awesome you are. But there’s this huge amount of time between when they book you and the wedding. You are awesome. I already know this. Why do we wait so long for couples to find out how amazing of a person you are? And why do we wait so long for couples to be able to tell their friends about you? Surely, they’re going to love the engagement pictures if you get to, you know, couples to do those. But this becomes about doing what other people aren’t doing. And I think there’s a lot of talk about like, oh, you know, that’s unreasonable to do this. Or, you know, it’s so much effort to do that. And yes, I have massive boundaries around my business. I have, you know, if you’ve listened to Episode 22 of this, you know that I have these huge fences and boundaries and with dates that I don’t take weddings on and all this kind of stuff. But you also have to know that like, going above and beyond for your couples from day one is what will really set yourself apart. I really started thinking about this years ago when I read this book called The Power of moments by Chip Heath and Dan Heath.
And in it they say beware of the soul sucking force of reasonableness. And it’s this. They tell the story about I cannot remember the Hotel’s name. But in it in the book they are you know, I think one of the authors is like on a road trip with his family. You and they stop at this hotel. And there’s a phone by the pool and it’s a family friendly pool. And it’s just this bright red phone. And it says popsicle hotline. And you pick up the phone and somebody on the other end says popsicle hotline what colors would you like? And oh no, this, this popsicle hotline will be right out. And they come out. And it’s a person literally wearing like a butler outfit. They have a silver platter. And they have three popsicles on it like an orange one, a red one and a great one. And they bring them out, like doesn’t matter how like white gloves and everything, they bring a silver platter out, they give you your choice, and then they go back totally unreasonable. Totally. Like they are paying that person an astronomical amount of money to give away free popsicles. The return on investment on that is like is definitely net zero, right in terms of finances. But the experience of having that is so high right enough that these authors wrote about it in a book. So what is it that from the very beginning that you can do to shake things up to allow people to be able to be like, Oh, my gosh, this, this person, this photographer is so amazing. They’ve been shot our wedding yet and they’ve just been such a joy to work with. They did this they did that they’ve done things for us that even our friends didn’t do. Right. You know, I’m thinking about this. You know, at the time of recording, this Oatley is this oat milk, and they have all these like massive billboards all over New York City and in the subways. And you’re kind of poking fun at the advertising are these big billboards are advertising their newsletter, and they’re sort of poking fun at like, who rents huge billboards in New York City to promote a newsletter. And when asked about it, the marketing director just said that we just wanted to have fun and and we wanted to do things that others aren’t doing. And in this like sort of digital world, having like real billboards, and, and doing like a sort of guerilla marketing campaign is something that was totally different. And I think even now, like, there are these marketing channels that we get stuck into, and it’s when you break out of them, when you break out of the rut of like, whatever that marketing channel is, is when you can still you really see what’s possible. Because it’s when you when you shake things up for couples. And when you become somebody who’s doing something different than everybody else, it might not be the thing that gets everybody’s attention.
But it’s enough to get the couple’s attention that you need, right. So in the beginning, I still I’m actually considering going back to this. But from the beginning, I met with every couple who inquired that wanted a meeting I met in person, I set my price right away. And I asked for a time to meet up and I would meet up in person with them every single time. Now it’s every single time it’s a Zoom meeting, right? That’s my thing. I send my semi price. And I asked for a meeting right away. You know, right now I’ve got kiddos, and you know, nights are a little bit crazy. I’m recording this podcast at 8:48pm. Because that’s time I can record it. But I believe that, you know, as we get more and more into, you know, I hear more photographers saying I don’t even need to do a meeting to meet up. That’s totally fine. I like everybody has their own thing. And there’s different perceptions out there photographers who and clients who want different things. But if this is my way of shaking things out of meeting with couples, and that’s how I did it, and I still meet with every couple who wants a meeting. You know, in the beginning was all in person before kids it was in person, I used to go to the rehearsals the night before the wedding. This was crazy. I can’t still can’t believe I did this. And it took me a while to give it up. You know, the I did a lot in the beginning, I was used to go there. And I would just take my camera and shoot some pictures of the rehearsal, not the dinner just like actually the rehearsal of the church and, or the venue or whatever, and just be there and just let people see me and, and the couple and all that kind of stuff. And prom and the bridesmaids and the groomsmen and all this. I remember, I think it was maybe like year one or year two, that, you know, I met with this couple, Laurie and Brian and they literally got out of their meeting and called two friends of theirs. And said you have to meet with this guy who were also engaged said you have to meet with this guy. He’s really amazing. I think you both will love them. And they ended up booking me and they were the first like group of friends that I photographed. And since then, I’ve gotten passed around in friend groups, you know, so regularly and I’m continuing to reap the dividends like just just at the beginning of this March, I photographed the sister of a bride Whose wedding I photographed in September 2011. That’s 12 years later.
And, you know, thankfully, I made such an impression that, you know, Kelly sister Carrie wanted me to photograph for her wedding too. But you know, I’m not trying to toot my own horn here. I know that I’m just talking about the way I’m doing business. But the point I’m trying to make is like, find things that feel like close to your values. And then double down on those and find ways that you can you can express those values and allow people to kind of feel seen and heard and understood and shake things up a little bit. I think that comes back to this idea of like finding ways to shake things up. So that way, the couple can see how amazing you are before the wedding day. Because there’s all this like, sort of wasted time, how can you build up their experience and you know, like a few. If you’ve heard me talk about filling holes and elevating peaks, this is the time to look at that whole entire experience of when a couple books you all the way to the wedding, what parts are really low for them, and what parts are valleys? And then what parts are the peaks and you can help elevate them, right? The duel cool stuff that doesn’t make sense for you to do if you’re only quote unquote, the wedding photographer, right? Meet with them have a beer or dinner, right?
Like so many photographers include a free engagement session, maybe it’s not an engagement session, maybe that’s something that you end up making the couple pay for, but it’s a dinner, right? You do dinner with every single one of your couples if they’re in town, or if they’re local, I don’t know. But it’s just a matter of shaking things up and getting people to see you as a person and how amazing you are as a person, not just a photographer. Your pictures are definitely going to be great, but everybody’s got great pictures, how can you sell yourself and how can you make it a point to let people see how amazing you are. So that’s something for you to chew on. As we close up this episode. So to recap, the first one is build and maintain relationships with venues right? Go to focus photographers.com/referral-building download that referral building worksheet, there’s three different things in there. Some of them have some similar fields as to everything I went over today. download that, check it out. Second is that referral group making sure that you are finding a close knit group of photographers who will share different leads with each other and then you can grow close with and really be able to send somebody interest to these clients who are contacting you. And the last one is to nurture clients immediately from the moment they inquire with you. Break that wedding photography script and then speak to their core desires of feeling like seen, heard, understood, and allow people to see you for how amazing you are as a person and a photographer right from the very beginning. Okay, man, I am wrapping up this episode. I’m so thankful you guys are all here. Let me know what you think about these things. If you have a referral group, that’s awesome. I’d love to hear how it’s going for you. If it’s not working for some reason, hit me up and maybe we can write it ship and get it back on track. So thank you so much for joining me today for this episode. I’m so thankful you guys were here episode 51 closing it out. Thanks so much. This is Dan Moya signing off, talk to you later.